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Fuji S3...anyone have it? Like it? Dislike it?

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A friend of mine who has a computer but who is not online is

seriously looking at going digital. He has Nikon gear, and right now

it's a tossup between the Nikon digi body and the Fuji S3. I've read

one or two reviews, but what he'd like to know is some firsthand

accounts of how people like the Fuji camera. He does mostly nature

photographer, is a very patient person in setting up his shots, he

doesn't need "fast frame" for action. As he puts it, mushrooms don't

move around all that fast. Any opinions? (On a side note in case

you're wondering, I just got the Rebel XT and love it.)

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Considering that your friend's shooting style doesn't demand speed and fast writing times, either camera would be fine. I have both the D70 and the S3. There are pros and cons to each but those issues really become relevant only in fast-shooting and fluid event situations.

I like the quality of the skin-tones I get from the S3, which basically enables me to print from fine jpegs with little post-processing. I don't have to shot RAW. The resolution is excellent and the additional dynamic range is very valuable in some extreme lighting situations. On the other hand, mushrooms are patient and usually aren't wearing bright white gowns, so accurate exposures are much easier to calculate. That shifts the scales to the Nikon simply because a new D70 (actually, the D70s is coming out shortly) is less than $1000 and the S3 is slightly more than double that.


The extra $1200 or so can buy some nice macro glass, a ringflash, or two months rent (or two weeks, depending on where you live).


If he's in a city that has camera stores that stock the two bodies, he can bring a macro lens and memory card and check out both cameras in the store. Better yet if they can be rented.


Given what you've described, and being familiar with both cameras, I'd recommend the D70.

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I have to say, I really wanted to disagree with Rich's post.


From what I can tell, on quality grounds, for your soft lighting of mushrooms in a forest,

for the subtle tones, for the quality of highlights on pale stems, etc., the S3 should have

significant advantages over the D70, plus it's a generally decent if slow camera which

seems to share the major advantage of its predecessors: raw files need little work out of



However, you cannot fault the pricing logic. Less clear is whether a secondhand S2 is a

better bet than a D70 - I bought one because I'm an F80 user and I really like the results

from the S2, but the truth is, the D70 is cheap, capable and decent.

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<I>Why doesn't your friend rent the digital bodies he is interested in or try a few shots at his local camera shop? He can then print some of these pics and see which camera he likes more!</I><BR><BR>

We live in a smallish town, I don't think either of the 2 camera stores rent out the newer bodies just yet, although I'll suggest it to him. He knows the people at the stores better and can find out.<BR><BR>

I hear you on the price difference. That's one of the main reasons I didn't buy the Minolta digi body, I thought it just ridiculous that they didn't bring out something to compete with the 10d pricewise, and it took what seemed like forever to bring out the one that they finally did come up with. Since I got a little windfall, I decided to go with the Rebel and get a couple of decent lenses. So far, I'm happy with it.

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I've compared the S3 and D70 performance in RAW mode here:


I still love my new S3 but D70 in RAW mode has exceeded my expectations. In JPEG mode, S3 provides clearly better results, and the extra dynamic range in JPEG mode is visible almost everywhere, not just in extream lighting conditions.

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I tried the S3 and liked it. Great handling, felt better made than the S2 or Nikon N80 (from which it was derived). Judging from the prints I've seen at the local dealer (made with a Fuji Pictrography machine) and full size web images, it has outstanding color right out of the camera with no computer modification. Very reminiscent of the Fuji color film palette. Punchy but with great skin tones.


I've met a couple of pros who use them in their studios. Fuji must be doing something right.


Ignore the 12mp hype. I think Fuji's making a mistake with this claim. They should brag about the color and small improvement in dynamic range in the highlight region. Not everyone cares about megapixels and speed.

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